tv America Tonight Al Jazeera September 28, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
keep it here. "america tonight" is next. my colleague thomas drayton will join new an hour. thanks for joining us. keep it here. >> on "america tonight", shocking video exposes rejection faced by many gay teenagers. >> i'm not a disgrace. >> yes, you are. >> no, i'm not. >> unfortunately, i'm sorry to say that you are. >> kicked out of his home, the stunning store a georgian teen found online, and how it's helping to found not just his future, but a community of homeless gay teenagers. also ahead - inside the mayhem, teenage offenders rose up
against the guards at a tennessee youth facility. one insider said why he wanted out. he tells lori jane gliha the kids didn't feel safe. >> a guard paid two students to beat him up because they got into an arg. >> a look at what happened inside the facility. and what it tells us about juveniles in the justice system. >> good evening, thank you for joining us for the "america tonight" weekend edition. i'm adam may in for joeie chen. we start with an issue affecting tens of thousands of gay teenagers. same-sex marriages have been legalized in 19 states in the
district of columbia. polls show acceptance of gays and lesbians. it's not true in every community or family. many gay teenagers are homeless, kicked out by their families. i travelled to the epicentre of the crisis, atlanta, georgia. >> reporter: when 19-year-old daniel pierce came out as gay to his georgia family, he recorded it for the world to see. >> let me... >> after posting the video supporters donated almost $100,000 to help daniel rebuild his life. >> you're a disgrace. >> i'm not a disgrace. >> yes, you are. >> reporter: daniel pierce is far from alone. the city of atlanta has been called ground zero for homeless gay teenagers, flooded with kids, kicked out of their homes by unaccepting parents.
art spent the last five years tracking down the kids, trying to get them help. >> reporter: do you think the family rejection here is greater because we are in the south, we are in the bible belt? >> without question. statistically we know that to be the case. >> reporter: he find teenagers as young as 16 down here, under the bridge, off a running trail, behind a few gay bars. sleeping down here as a teenager, i can't fath e some what it's -- fathom what it's like. >> many kids are intelligent. it's not that they are coming. for religious reasons they are banned, cut off from their families and have nothing left to do. >> reporter: on any given night some 2,000 youth are homeless. 40% identify as gay lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
more than half of the youth he helped were kicked out of the house for being gay. >> what do you youth do to survive? >> they engage in survival activities, anything from survival sex - hooking up so you have a warm place to sleep at night, oftentimes they'll use drugs to stay away and keep their wits about them, protect themselves, things like that, or petty criminal activity. stealing, pickpocketing, running into a grocery store to steal food, digging in a dumpster for food. ryan petersen nose about survival. until a few months ago he was homeless. >> these streets are just - there's definitely a lot of memories, like, walking down, for three days, walking to mcdonald's to get a milkshake because i had nothing to eat.
>> for days. >> for days. >> reporter: at 23 he lived a life few can imagine. >> i grew up in walnut grove georgia. >> a rural area. >> very rural. i knew i was gay in about middle school. >> reporter: did your family embrace it or was there a conflict? >> i was rebellious, i was okay, mum, i'm going to throw it in your face that i'm gay, because i thought it was because she didn't like that i was gay. and she didn't love me because of it. that's what i thought at the time, now being sober, and getting back in connection, i can only imagine what i put her through, what she went through. all she did was try for me >> reporter: that's big of you to take op sol of that blame -- take on some of that blame and responsibility. >> my family was just scared what would happen to me, looking back on it.
>> reporter: ryan's internal and struggles led the promising gymnast who loved theatre to drop out of school, leave home and flee to atlanta at 17. >> reporter: how did you make money? >> one of my major sources of income was important for a while. that was a long road. but after that, i dated a drug dealer. i didn't really have to have a job. >> reporter: drugs, porn. >> trust me, it's an epitome of party gay life i pretty much have done. >> reporter: sometimes, ryan said, he would frequent adult book stores, video stores, bathhouses looking for someone who wanted a quick hook-up so he didn't have to sleep on the streets. >> reporter: what was your low point? >> my first was california. i woke up on the roof of
someone's house, af being awake for about five days. i was rolling, high, and i just looked around and i started crying. i missed my family. i called my cousin, she bought me a plane ticket back. i got back, started to get my life on back and found out i was mfi. when i found out i was positive. >> h.i.v. positive. >> yes. it crushed me. not because of the fact that i was give, because the fact that i couldn't have kids. that crushed me the most. i always wanted kids and always will. >> reporter: after that ryan turned back to a life on the streets, using and dealing crystal meth. his $300 a day habit leading to a second low point. >> reporter: you were crashing here. were you paying rent?
>> i remember just walking up here, walking between buildings, carrying drugs, taking them to other people. it's hard. some places are memories that just need a statement. >> reporter: you are done with this. >> i am, i have to be. >> reporter: fearing death, ryan found the strength to reach out to lost and found. >> up here is where we house the youth. >> reporter: founder, rick westbrook showed us a shelter they are trying to build to house the whomless l.g.b.t. >> reporter: this is huge. >> most know the daniel pitt story, it has international recognition. that is something that happen every day. we were fortunate that daniel hit record so people can see the hate spewed by parents to their
children because they love someone of the same sex. >> reporter: lost and found helped 400 homeless kids, including daniel pierce. >> we know that we have - nationwide we have 24-48 hours before they do something illegal to survive. whether that be steal from a grocery store or convenience store to put food in the bodies or sell drugs, take them to cope or sell themselves. >> reporter: you have been around other people in similar situations to you. why are there so many? >> gay teenagers go flow a lot. there are parts of the south where the ku klux klan exists. i mean, there are parts of the south where you will get beaten up if you go to school and say you are gay. >> reporter: what is the message to the greater community?
>> i need straight people to talk to their families, and wrap their head around. it's not okay to cake a kid out on the street because of words you read in a book. this has got to stop. >> reporter: for the first time in years, ryan has a steady job. hired by lost and found to work in the thrift store. on the day of the interview he was 100 days clean and sober. he started reconnecting with his family and making plans to go to colle college. >> there's so much love here. it's like a second family. every day i come to work. i'm in love with it. there are hard days, stressful days. at the end of the day these people are my family. >> where would you be without them? >> probably still using and still lost. and still hating myself.
and still thinking there's no escape. >> reporter: taking his escape one day at a time. supported by his found family, he is one of the lucky ones. this weekend ryan is moving into his own place. we have an update on daniel pierce. he's staying with an extended family members, trying to figure out how to use that money, and is donating anything above $100,000 to help other kids in the atlanta area. the ray rice case puts new focus on pro football and domestic violence. >> 70% of domestic violence happened once the person tries to leave. my sister was trying to leave. and a couple of days later she was kill. >> his sister was killed by a former girlfriend.
well, the n.f.l. season is under way. so far much of the talk is not about wins or losses, most continues to be about what is happening to the n.f.l. off the field. ray rice, and the league's handling of domestic violence, it affect one in every four women nationwide, and the embattled league promised that change will come. but as "america tonight"s sara hoy reports, for a former n.f.l. stand out and his family, it's a lot bigger than football. >> reporter: in the johnson house, team work is paramount. it's a household this couple says is built on a foundation of love and faith. here a family that prays together stays toot.
so when news about former raven's running back ray rice knocking out his wife made headlines, super bowl christopher johnson and his wife mioshi decided to speak out. >> i look at my nieces and see two beautiful girls never able to grow up with their mum. >> son december 5th, 2011, whilst playing for the oakland raiders, he got the shock of his life, his 22-year-old sisters was shot and killed by her based. leaving him and his wife care for her daughters. christopher johnson decided to ask the raiders to release them. when this happened, something told me i had to let it go. there was my past. i gat ready to retire. we spoke to people at chuften about it, we prayed about it. i'm like i think now at this
time my nieces need me. my mum neds me, i asked -- needs me, i asked them to release me. >> his sister's killer, eugene yesters, was sentenced to life in prison, following a brief trial. >> reporter: what did the world lose when they lost her? >> on upbeat, beautiful young woman. she gave herself to people more than people gave to her. >> reporter: the johnson's gave "america tonight" access that their fort worth home to talk about the impact of domestic violence. >> as a brother i can't let my sister be at risk without me being a voice for domestic violence. i'm helping her. >> reporter: mioshi's side of the family was touched by tragedy, and she spends much of her time helping women called
moses. >> in 2002 i lost my first cousin to domestic violence. at that time it was something that my family figured was an isolated incident. we focussed on our family and us being the victims. once we were dealt the loss of losing my sister-in-law i vowed to help victims. they began to work with victims of domestic abuse and speaking at women's shelters. after months away from the game he loved, chris couldn't stay away from the football field. >> i don't think my sister would want me to give up my career. she was a cheerful, joyful person. for me to sit around and mope, i wasn't doing justice for her. he had a call from the baltimore ravens, returning to the league. less than a month after signing, in december 2012, kansas city chief linebacker jo von belcher
shot and killed his girlfriend and turned the gun on himself. days later chris addressed his own team in the locker room at the first anniversary of his sister's death and talked about domestic violence. also on the team was ray rice. his last and final season took him to the 2013 super bowl in new orleans. >> the first thing i did was dropped to my knees and thanked god that he placed me with the team. i had so much emotion, i was going to give up my career to be with my mum, sister and family. >> reporter: you went out with the super bowl. >> i think that is the best way to end a career, on top. >> reporter: this year when the video surfaced showing his super bowl team-mate ray rice striking and knocking out his wife in february, the johnson's say they were appalled. >> reporter: is it tough to look at ray after seeing the video. >> i couldn't say it's hard to look at him, but i don't have, i
guess, respect for a man - the last couple of weeks, the n.f.l. has been bashed on domestic violence. it's not an n.f.l. or n.b.a. thing or major league baseball thing. the men in the world need to understand not to put their hand on women, period. >> reporter: rice was no an n.f.l. player, he was chris's team-mate, and their wives were friends. >> when the second tape hit, i was horrified. that's a friend. i text her and said "i saw the second video and i have tears in my eyes", and she said, "i'm so much further than that right new." >> reporter: by repairing the video over and over and over again. what do you think that does to the general public who is watching? >> i don't think it helped at all. if you show it, show it and say this is happening every three seconds in america. this is somebody's life.
so how can we prevent this from happening to the next person. >> the facts about domestic violence are staggering. according to the federal bureau of investigation, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds across the country, with 1500 women murdered as a result. since retiring to texas, chris and mioshi have become outspoken advocates. >> 70% of domestic violence happens once the person tries to leave. my sister was trying to leave and a couple of days later she was kill. >> chris says the handful of players benched for incidents of abuse provided an opportunity. >> this is a negative platform for the guys. it's a platform or domestic violence, for the right people to step forward and help the women out. >> reporter: after more that a
week of silence, the n.f.l. commissioner roger goodell responded to a storm of criticism, and outlined steps the league is taking to curb domestic violence and abuse. >> i got it wrong on a number of levels - from the process to a decision that i reached. but now i will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. >> reporter: mioshi says the league can do more. >> they need to know, so they don't think it's just one guy and his wife. no, it's one in four. it's the 600 a week. these are the things that we need to put under the headline of domestic violence. not ray and jena, or mcdonald, not who did not get to play because of. what are the reasons and the prevention and the help we can do for domestic violence.
>> as the third anniversary of chris's sister's death approaches, the johnsons share their story for anyone that will listen. why do you do this, why do you care? >> i seen my mum go through domestic violence, my older sister. my eye has been on it, and i was one of the guys a couple of years ago well, let me be quiet. once, like i say with my sister killed, i have to speak up. >> reporter: while the n.f.l. grapples with how to handle domestic violence in the league, the quarterback is using the family tragedy to fight back. after the break, why the kids did it. an out of control scene at a tennessee youth center. when juvenile offenders took obvious. >> a lot of them say they'll do
it again. they'd rather be locked up somewhere else, a juvenile downtown, or something inside the facility is making the kids feel this way. lori jane gliha goes indepth with a look at the mayhem, and what is happening in the juvenile justice system. >> it is imperative that i get into college... it's my last chance to get out of here... >> the incredible journey continues... on the edge of eighteen only on al jazeera america
you may remember a wild and dramatic video of a gaol break at this tennessee facilities, eight of the young offenders involved face an extra year in custody. the dramatic accept is putting the youth detention center at the forefront of a debate on how to care for troubled young people. lori jane gliha has the story from tennessee, where the
community is fired up and one acceptee is still on the run. >> reporter: teens armed with sticks and rocks attacking guards. that was the scene in early september at the baoed land hills youth development center, a treatment facility for juvenile delinquents. jeremy heard the ruckous from his room. >> i was laying in my bed and heard yelling. i heard kid running around the yard. i went to the door, and start kicking in the window trying to get out. >> reporter: he watched as other kids kicked a hole in a flimsy part of the wall to escape. a lot of people said there must have been an underlying reason as to why the kids broke out. do you think there was an underlying reason or a spur of the moment thing? >> it depends on the kids. some kids are bullied. most guards don't do anything
about it. >> reporter: 32 teens slipped under the fence, including this man's son. he disappeared for days. >> a lot of them say they'd do it again to get out of that facility. they'd rather be lock up. it's somethinged in the facility making the kids feel that way. >> it's a system fail of epic performances. clearly something broke down in a way that i had not seen before or heard of at any other facility in any state. >> van der belt university law professor terry marroni specialises in juvenile justice and has on the inside of woodland hills. >> this facility is provided not to punish or do anything other than protect the community for
as long as they represent a danger, and learn to be more functional in the world. >> kids in trouble from marijuana session to assault are called students and live in dorms that are not locked. there are treatment programs to help those with drug problems, and classes to help with the g.e.d. jeremy took advantage of the programs and experience the violence that guards tolerated and condoned against kids he knew. >> guards would let the kids get bullied and wouldn't say anything, let them get extorted and get their food took. i seen markus, a guard paid two students to beat him up, because they got into an argument. >> there have been other signs of trouble, including two breakou attempts. in may, half-a-dozen teens
violate curfew before guards convinced them to come back. in 200420 staff members were -- 2004, 20 staff members were injured when the children hurled bricks at them. substantial budget reductions, and the state was told the juvenile justice system needed funding to improve staffing and programs, and a system using smaller, they area putition facilities. >> professor marroni says woodland hills is hardly therapeutic. >> woodland miles looks like a prison, feels like a prison and runs like a prison. >> this is the road where the youth center is located and is supposed to be set up like a rehabilitation center, and not a prison. i want to show you what we have
to pass to get here. to the left, is an adult women's prison. it's where juvenile justice experts say a juvenile center thu not be located. >> when you treat the kids like criminals, they act like criminals. when a kid is put in state care, it should be a place that doesn't look like an adult prison, feel like one or run like one. >> it looks like a grown up facility, more than a facility that treats kids. >> wallace's second had been on the run, when he told us he thought the staff was too young and too inexperienced to deal with kids like his son, who deals with mental health issues. >> all the things given to me on a management plan, 75% are things that on a management plan did not happen. he's been there two years.
i came here not only to talk to you, but to listen. >> reporter: this is the man in charge. youth development centers or y d.c.s, commissioner jim hendry. he told us the most recent escape came as a surprise. >> i was really shocked because i wasn't aware of some of the issues that existed with the facilities. i thought wemp far along with -- we were far along with the services. i think we have work to do. >> reporter: what do you say to people that sa this is out of control, what is going on? >> if you look at the y d.c.s, you have to look at the incident. this is one receiving a lot of recognition. we have few incidents and helped a lot of kids. >> reporter: henry says he's open to change and wants to
improve. >> between july and september 2012, the police were called 47 tombs. >> in the aftermath of the escape, he faced angry res gets at a community meeting. >> you are lucky the kids did not do harm. >> wallace stepped up to the mike. >> there was a lot of kids baby-sitting kids. a lot of sids baby-sitting kid. >> reporter: angel is a former guard at woodland hills. >> i think in my heart a lot of kids don't have anyone to kind of talk to that really believes in them. >> reporter: she worked at woodland hill in 2006 and new many qualified guards, but says there are bad apples that mistreated kids. >> they are tired of getting treated like animals in there.
>> reporter: we were watching 24 hours a day, so we have to have decent people work there. if you don't, things like that happen. 32 escaping. that's bad. >> commissioner henry... >> we have to have a balance between therapeutic services and security. the community has to be safe. we know that. we think we secured the facility. next we'll try to train the guards. >> henry is trying to get to the bottom of the breakout. he believes some of the kids left because he felt under safe. how hard was it for you to decide nod to go with them. >> it wasn't hard. i wasn't going to make a dumb decision like that because i was leaving in two cause. >> he said woodland hills helped him turn his life around. >> with scenes like that administrators admit they have work to do, so they can help
others like him. tensions and violence in israel. [ gunfire ] the gaza ceasefire may be holding. on the streets some neighbourhoods are divided. >> i thought we could live together. i thought that people are people are people. and no, it's not that. it's not like that. i was naive. >> an indepth look at what is really happening when palestinians and israelis reluctantly coexist. that is next. >> investigating a dark side of the law >> they don't have the money to puchace their freedom... >> for some...crime does pay... >> the bail bond industry has been good to me.... i'll make a chunk of change off the crime... fault lines... al jazeera america's hard hitting...
it's been a month since hamas and israel declared a ceasefire in gaza. the violence is far from over. in jerusalem, where palestinians and israelis live side by side as neighbours, clashes happen almost every until day. al jazeera's nick schifrin visited two neighbourhoods where anger and insecurity are spiralling. >> in the ancient city, the pension is explosive. palestinian canninger is stronger than it's been for a decade. the police response is
uncompromising. today's jerusalem is split. >> usually [ beeping ] . >> among neighbours attacks are aggressive and personnel. >> i have the enemy in my house, neighbourhood. >> if you attack me, i attack you back. people that face me never came back >> reporter: the cycle of threats and violence is no more apparent than the area that divides jewish french hill. here. >> separation is the answer. right now the situation on the ground cannot go on. >> reporter: when was the check point set up - after the gas point attack. >> the same night. >> reporter: the story begins with ellie. and the gas station.
>> it represented the relationship between the communities, we used it, and the village over here uses the gas station. >> reporter: two weeks ago the fragile relationship cracked. palestinians whom israeli police say were as young as 13 attacked the station. they looted the store. the gas station represents the broken dialogue, and the broken coexistence that was here. >> for the palestinian residents, it was on outgrowth of injustice. >> mohammed lived here his life, and argues the space we are walking on is there is. -- is theirs. >> reporter: french hill was captured from israel by jordan, and is called an illegal
settlement. more years the sides fought here. on one day palestinians protested in 42 locations across jerusalem. since july, in east jerusalem. israeli police arrested 750 palestinians, a third of them minors. the last time this man remembers this level of tension is 25 years ago, when he attacked the same israeli-owned gas station. >> today high traded in rambo for rocky. fighting, but wearing gloves. he sees himself as a village custodian, gemeding the teenages -- defending the teenagers who today are as angry as he once was.
>> reporter: what were you protesting when the police arrested you? >>reporter: 15-year-old mohammed was arrested and said the village will fight the israeli police every time they enter. >> reporter: he and his friends feel the israeli government neg lects them. three-quarters of east jerusalem lives below the poverty line. this is a no man's land for services, like garbage collection and public parks. >> when you pray on the streets
and look up, what do you think? > i know that maybe they have troubles, but this is not the reason to hate me. >> victor loved with his daughter in french hill for eight years, and loved it here. >> now he chose me the spot where outside his house, palestinian teenagers burnt his car. they were inside listening to a theme. his daughter does not feel safe walking through her neighbourhood, carrying pepper spray and innocent looking plastic. (high pitched sound emitted). >> reporter: >> reporter: you installed the extra security after the car was attacked. down the street, this man's car was torched. this woman installed security
lights and cameras. >> i thought we could live together. i thought that people are people are people. and now it's not that. it's not like that. i was very naive. >> reporter: as the violence increases, so does mistrust. this is a taxi driver working in the center of jerusalem. this summer he and his colleagues say jewish residents harassed them. the drivers filmed this. >>reporter: on the same spot our cameras captured anti-arab rate. this man said he would attack
palestinians. >> the hate breeds violence, pro-palestinian groups did a group of attacks. this man was almost beaten to death. >> reporter: today, after the violence, some in french hill belief the only solution is to separate. >> we want to be aware that people cannot cross the valley and a checkpoint up the mill for cars, that they can go through, but people that want to harm us, they'll be stopped. >> reporter: it's that kind of isolation that these people fight. the israeli police blocked a village main road.
>> reporter: this man moved a stop so residents could pass and get on with their lives, which is the best that many here expect - uneasy co-existence, and hoping for moments of normalcy. a wedding ceremony filled coffee shops and french hill. days like this muffle the violence and allow jews and palestinians to live next to each other. they have to. neither side is going anywhere. up next - they took to the streets, and brought down a government. remaking ukraine is proving to be tougher than expected. >> it's our job. there's no one else. there's nobody. when you current and say who is that, it's us. >> "america tonight"s sheila
macvicar travelled to ukraine and brings an indepth look at the changes and challenges facing the government. york city and a line forms well before doors open at this east harlem food pantry. the people waiting for food range from young mothers to older people on fixed incomes. inside the pantry, the number of people needing food is only growing. congress cut 5 billion dollars from "s.n.a.p." or the "supplemental nutrition assistance program" in late 2013; because of that, the new york common pantry, one of the largest in new york - serving 3 million meals annually, reports a 26% increase in recipients in the last year. new york ranked 4 in a recent survey of cities around the globe with the highest percentage of millionaires. joel berg, who heads the new york coalition against hunger says, as the city gets wealthier, demand at the 1000 plus food kitchens he represents
is only increasing. >> well when neighborhoods gentrify, the demand goes up because rent is the single greatest cost that low income people face and if they can't afford to pay rent, they can't afford to buy food. >> and with less government aid for food, the strain is on charities to fill the void and depend on donations to keep feeding new york's hungry.
welcome back, the world watched a violent revolt unfold on tv and social media. tens of thousands of ukranian protesters gathered at kiev's independence square also known as the maydan, to demand change, challenge for the economic future and bring reform to a corrupt government. sheila macvicar travelled to kiev to bring us a look at a revolution still under way. >> reporter: a new day dawns in kiev.
ukraine's 1500-year-old capital. in her apartment civil activist hannah prepares for the battle of her day. >> every day i'm reading the bible. i ask god to send me special sentences, and this is inspiring. hard work, every thing we achieved with love. >> for 15 years she's been fighting for an end to corruption and to bring democracy and reform. several months ago in the middle of winter she was with tens of thousands of others standing on the central square, the maydan. people were dying and when her mother begged, she refused to leave. >> mother was crying, asking you'll be killed, no, please, say no. this is the fight of our generation, i have to be here.
if everybody will be controlled by the fear, we will lose the chance to change the system. the protest began, and ukraine's ex president refused to sign an agreement bringing ukraine closer to europe, choosing a closer alliance with vladimir putin instead. in the crack done, viktor yanukovych put riot police on the street, and turned snipers on his own people. when it was over, the president was gone. forced to flee. the people claimed victory. victory came with a terrible price. there were more than 100 dead. >> on this hillside, this is where almost all of those that died during the maydan protest were killed. this is artefacts. everything here from ski goggles, motorcycle gloves, tear gas cannisters.
motorcycle helmets, backpacks, what they carried. it's because of the people that died that gave their lives so ukraine would have a new chance, those fighting for reform say they can't give up. >> it's our opportunity. we have our efforts, we owe them, our other children. this is our mission, mission to work for ukraine. >> reporter: this woman led of team of 200 experts, mostly volunteers, trying to revamp the bureau gratic system. they are trying to radically reform every sector of government society. out of the hundreds of legislation, parliament passed
12. >> we didn't criticize for six months. this is the question on the future of ukraine. we have to remind them. this is a man ukraine's president chose to relieve the effort. >> in the countries, we inherited a lot of processes. we need to kill half the protests. now he sits behind a desk with half-a-dozen secure phones at his side. >> i'm still trying to figure out all the phones. they are called super secure. >> reporter: and your frustration for some of those that share your commitment, it's months, very little has happened. >> sometimes i wish it would be
faster. can you move faster when half the apparatus are the same. we need more young generation, new movement. everyone is expecting miracles. >> never mind the outdated instructions, ukraine's government had not joined the electronic age. >> you have a piece of paper, a table. you are looking at the peace of paper. it's like thank you. >> everything was on paper. >> before deciding to help ukraine by joining the team, he was one pushing for change in the maydan. building barricades and teaching at maydan's university at the streets. >> you were the senior executive of one of the most successful companies in ukraine. a major multinational. why did you do that?
>> it started when police started to beat kids at night. it's been a difficult moment. when you sow what was happening -- when you see what was happening. it's been a very stressful moment. you can't sit home and watch all that. you stood up and fight. if they can do that at night to the incident kids, they can do it to anybody, and you lose your freedom, and you lose everything. >> instead, it was putin's puppet viktor yanukovych who lost everything, including the ukranian version, built with money strn from ukraine's people, it's the people gauking at the fountains and the beautiful fountains. it cost about $2 to enter.
while it's clear someone takes care of the place, what is not clear is where all the money goes. do you think after the next elections that ukraine will be better? that your country will be better? >> reporter: if ukraine doesn't change, it may not survive, because it's in a state of war. here on the battlefield, fighting for unity, the old diseases of corruption and head-banging bureaucracy are playing a familiar role. an ukranian-american doctor heads an organization to better deal with battlefield first aid kits for soldiers. >> this is a combat application turny kit. putting it on one hand, saving
lives in iraq and afghanistan. >> to get the aid out to soldiers, she had to climb a bureaucratic mountain. >> they tell us in the ministry of defense, that they can't by anything that is not approved by the ministry of health. they say it's up to the ministry of defense, and we'll put it into the list of things to buy. it's a vicious circle. >> some people talk about what they see within the military as corruption. they are clear about what they see. are you having trouble deal with that. >> they put in old style ex-soviet kit, probably because it's being registered by a business who nose somebody in the ministry, who wants the ministry of defense to bite the gets, a small square kit.
inside are two band-aids, a condom, a little comb, one package of gauze, and i think two alcohol swabs. but it's the little kit that even kids in kindergarten probably have better kits. >> reporter: publicly the government says it can't afford to by 100,000 n.a.t.o. kits. 3,000 have been donated, and soldiers have been trained to use them, despite bureaucratic resistance. the trainers are not military, but veterans of the maydan. what do the commanders and soldiers that you work with say to you about this? >> reporter: in the months since then they have taken courses,
set aside their previous professions. what lessons do you take forward from maydan? >> reporter: hannah is changing her life too. stepping into the political arena as a candidate in the parliamentary elections that are meant to change the face of the government. something people begged her to do. >> hannah, why you not run for the parliament. in this period, in the country, if such people like you will not run, who do we trust. >> reporter: for generation, 23 years since independent has been squandered. they have this chance. it may not come again. it's our job to transform the
roundry. when you turn and say who is that, it's us. >> reporter: maydan represents a commitment and an opportunity. >> true. what matters is that you belong to the country, it's your country, your future. this is your independence. >> that's "america tonight"s sheila macvicar reporting from ukraine. >> that's it for us here on "america tonight". if you would like to comment on the stories, log on to the website at aljazeera.com/"america tonight" and join the conversation on twitter or facebook. have a good night.
this is al jazeera america, i'm thomas drayton in new york. let's get you caught up on the top stories this hour. a live look, it is morning in hong kong where protesters are camp out in the heart of the financial district. crowds welcome indian prime minister narendra modi in new york city on his first official visit to the u.s. we look at the complex relationship between u.s. and india. presidentba